I admit, the photos taken of my knee before and after surgery were hard to look at.
I look down at my knee and am dumbfounded because I thought, Oh my… this is actually happening, NOW. As raw as those photos were, this post is one where I’m about to let you into what was going on in my heart and mind with this whole procedure (ACL arthroscopy reconstruction) – which is basically a reconstruction of the joint — in this case my left ACL.
7:30am My family came with me that morning. We arrived, checked in, got my wristband, got my cute blue patient gown on, received paperwork, and I was off to the drugs – painkillers and numbing meds in my knee and an IV in my left arm, I was a druggie for the day 😛 LOL.
8:30am Waiting. Just waiting for my turn to get into the OR. Mom sitting by my side, staring at my knee, taking pics and feeling nervous for me. She didn’t have to say it, but I could see it in her eyes. I’m gonna be okay Ma, God’s got this.
9:30am. The nurses wheeled me into the OR and all I remember is coldness, lights so bright, and the cling clanging of surgical tools. Yikes! This is ACTUALLY happening. And my surgeon said, “Hi Ashley! How’s it going?” Umm, Doc, are you really asking me this question right now?… “Good, I guess? Let’s do this!” was my reply, and all I remember seeing was this jumbo oxygen mask that came over my face, “We’re just gonna give you some oxygen so you can have a great sleep, okay Ashley?” Did I have an option now? NOPE! I said, “okay”, and bam, before I knew it, I was going for a little itch on my nose but knocked out before my hand could even move. Womp Womp…
11:40am. I could hear again. “Ashley wake up, you’re in the recovery room. Surgery is all done. You’re going to feel really.weak and dizzy so just take your time opening your eyes. We will move you to the post-op room shortly. I knew I was awake and somewhat alert because I recognized my name. As I opened my eyes, laying there, still temporarily ‘paralyzed’, I knew I was okay. Lacking sensation in most of my body, head spinning 100 miles an hour, but awake. God is good.
12:15pm I got transferred to the post-op room. Nurses and doctors walked to and fro and I knew I was so out of it. Wanting to utter words because I just wanted to eat, I wanted to drink, but couldn’t gather enough energy to speak up. I had no idea what this journey was going to be like, but I knew I was ready for it. Energy or not – so ready!
6 months later I look down at my scars and am reminded of the pain I had to endure to be stronger, more confident, and ready to move forward.
I get it now, God.
The healing process takes time. It takes commitment to taking the necessary steps to be a better walker, jogger, runner, swimmer. It takes perseverance and challenges to be pushed through to make it to the next step. I couldn’t step up stairs, I couldn’t bend my knee as much as I was able to before surgery. But stretching my limits allowed me to warm up my muscles, allowing them to remember how they used to work.
I look down at my scars now, and am reminded of the healing that comes through pain. I’m stronger now, more confident, and ready to take the next step. Almost 6 months post-op and I can’t stop praising God for His healing on my knee. The scars are one thing, but feeling sensations and gaining strength and range of motion was another. I’m now able to jump, leap, jog, and swim! Only through God’s healing could this have been possible.
Like the song says,
“I believe You’re my Healer,
I believe You are all I need.
I believe You’re my portion,
I believe You’re more than enough for me.
Jesus You’re all I need.”
This song helped me through my first 2 weeks of recovery. Sitting on that couch for so long got my butt numb and my back aching. But it was well worth it! Why? Because now I’m able to praise God through my struggle.
As I conclude this post, I hope you’re inspired by the journey of my ACL recovery up to this point. There’s so much to learn from it, and I pray that you’ve gained some type of insight as to what the struggles you’re going through are doing to you. This surgical procedure was serious, and I was scared to my bones to get with it, but I did it! #Justdoit
Not to say whatever your struggling with now isn’t serious, because it may as well be. Maybe not as serious as getting under the knife in an OR, but serious enough to be taking over your time, energy – your life. Your struggle may be consuming all of you right now, but know that God is greater than your struggle, and the promise of healing. The promise of healing that comes from your Healer.
“The Lord will strengthen him on his bed of illness;
You will sustain him on his sickbed.” – Psalm 42:3
Circumstances break us, keep us paralyzed for a time, but do you want to stay in that paralysis? I hope not. We all have struggles, we all will have struggles. But why let our struggles defeat us? The Defeater of struggles has already won the victory by dying on the cross for us. When we wallow in our struggles, we hold onto the weaknesses that we shouldn’t be claiming. When we see past our struggles, we can zoom out and attempt to see the bigger picture – that we are actually stronger than we think.
“And He said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness” – 2 Corinthians 12:9
What’s holding you back? It’s obvious what it was for me – the lack of muscle in my new ACL, and the lack of courage I had to want to walk on it because I didn’t want to hurt myself. But look, gather than courage you’ve been storing in your back pocket and use what you’ve got! Give it all you’ve got to get past this struggle. It’s not impossible – I’m possible –> you can do it! (had to throw that in there LOL)
“If you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you.” – Matthew 17:20
Seriously friend, why let your struggle win your life over? Aren’t there better things, worthwhile you could be doing than holding onto your problems? I understand there are situations that will take longer than others, but that doesn’t mean you won’t overcome them. Lose your life for the One who lost His life for you! The last verse I want to share with you is this:
“He who finds his life will lose it, and he who loses his life for My sake will find it.” – Matthew 10:39
Yeah, take that one in. I mean it, read it again. And again. And again. Let it sink in.
Stop trying to find your life your own way. Stop trying to find things to cover up your struggle. Face it! Tell God about it! Talk to your close friends about it, and be humble enough to pray over it. Maybe your friends are struggling, the same applies. Life is so much better with Jesus in it! I have a pencil that has no point (meaning it has two ends with just an eraser, so you can’t actually write with it). Because that’s what life without Jesus is like – pointless! (Yay puns LOL)
I pray that this was an encouragement for you to see past your battle scars. Your struggle may seem big now, but just know there’s a God far greater than it.
Be inspired. Be a testimony of love.